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360 LTE networks globally as of 2014, strong growth in LTE-Advanced & VoLTE deployments

360 operators have commercially launched LTE networks and service in 124 countries, according to latest data released by the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA). There are 373 million LTE subscriptions globally as of Q3 2014.

GSA-360-LTE-networks-2014

In its Evolution to LTE report, GSA said that 96 LTE networks were launched in 2014.

The most widely used spectrum for LTE network deployments continues to be 1800 MHz (3GPP band 3). 158 LTE1800 networks are commercially launched in 76 countries. 1800 MHz is used in almost 44% of LTE network deployments and also has the largest user devices ecosystem. Over 42% of LTE user terminals/devices can operate in the 1800 MHz band.

The next most popular band for LTE deployments is 2.6 GHz (band 7), used in over 25% of commercial networks. 800 MHz (band 20) is by far the most popular sub 1 GHz coverage choice for LTE and continued to gain share with almost 1 in 5 operators globally deploying networks using this spectrum, GSA said.

While most operators deployed LTE networks in paired spectrum using the FDD(Frequency Division Duplex) mode, the LTE TDD mode (TD-LTE) for operators with unpaired spectrum had another year of growth in all regions, especially in China. 48 operators, which equates to more than 1 in 8 LTE operators, have commercially launched LTE service using the TDD(Time Division Duplex) mode.

Deployments breakdown for 360 commercially deployed LTE networks globally:

  • 312 operators deployed FDD mode only
  • 31 operators deployed TDD mode only
  • 17 operators deployed both FDD and TDD modes


More key facts from the Evolution to LTE report:

  • 611 operators are investing in LTE across 174 countries. This comprises 566 operator network deployment commitments in 166 countries (of which 360 networks have launched), and 45 pre-commitments trials in a further 8 countries
  • The LTE commercial service footprint extended to a further 27 countries in 2014
  • 80 operators in 42 countries i.e. over 22% of operators are investing in VoLTE (Voice over LTE) deployments, studies or trials, with 14 operators having launched HD voice service using VoLTE in 7 countries. More VoLTE launches are expected in 2015
  • 107 operators in total, i.e. almost 30% of LTE operators have launched, are deploying or are trialling LTE-Advanced technologies. 49 operators have commercially launched LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation in 31 countries, and this figure could double in 2015
  • 8 operators have commercially launched LTE using APT700 (700 MHz) band 28 spectrum. APT700 is a key coverage band for LTE with near-global market potential. 42 countries have allocated, committed to or recommend APT700 band 28 spectrum for LTE deployments, in markets covering 3.2 billion people. 55 APT700 (band 28) user devices comprising smartphones, tablets, CPEs and MiFi hotspots have been announced
  • LTE roaming is market reality and increasingly commonplace
  • 373 million LTE subscriptions globally by Q3 2014 (according to Ovum) achieving 131% YoY growth. The balance of regional shares continued to shift to Asia, driven by impressive growth in China

Alan Hadden, President of GSA, said: LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation deployment was the major trend in 2014. 49 operators have commercially launched LTE-Advanced in 31 countries. Taking account of additional deployments in progress, trials and studies, GSA calculates almost 30% of LTE operators are currently investing in LTE-Advanced technology.

GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) represents GSM/EDGE, WCDMA-HSPA and LTE suppliers, providing reports, facts, analysis and information explaining market developments and trends.

[Download PDF]– GSA Evolution to LTE report (Jan 7, 2015)

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy